How to Measure Bike Wheel: Detailed Instructions for Any Bike Type (Fall 2022)

Measuring your bike's wheel isn't as difficult as you may think it is. Read on to know the simple steps to follow.
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Last updatedLast updated: October 16, 2022
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Wheels are vital parts of a bike. From the traction they provide to the surface we’re riding to the offered dampening from bumps and lumps, they make cycling easier and smoother. However, many cyclists are usually confused about how to measure bike wheels, and you’re bound to damage your bike if you keep riding on too small or too big wheels.

We’ve come up with this guide on how to measure bike wheel size to help you enjoy a better cycling experience. You’ll discover the different methods you can follow to keep the size of your bike’s wheel in the proper shape. Details on how to measure bike wheel diameter will also be highlighted.

How to Measure a Bike Tire 

There are a couple of distinct approaches you can employ to measure your bike wheel. It’s the amount of time you’re willing to spend on this activity that will determine the most appropriate approach to adopt.

Most times, experts usually recommend that you should first visit the shop where you got your bike or speak with the manufacturer. This is because you may easily find all the measurements and sizing information you need from manufacturers and retailers without going through extra stress.

Contacting your retailer might be a very good option to oblige to. While it’s necessary to know how to measure a bike’s wheel, it’s also vital to have more clarity about the rim of your bicycle. Thus, you shouldn’t also ignore the knowledge of how to measure bike rims. The three major methods you can use to carry out these activities will be enumerated step-by-step in this guide.

Method 1: The Standard Method

The standard method is regarded to be the fastest way to determine the wheel size of the bike. It uses inches as the medium to measure your bike’s tire diameter and width. This makes it a preferred choice for individuals looking to measure bike wheel size in inches.

Step 1: Stand the bike upright.

How to Measure Bike Wheel: Detailed Instructions for Any Bike Type (Fall 2022)

Use the kickstand to keep the bicycle upright. You may also make it rest against a wall if your kickstand is messing up. The bike will not be tipping onto you while measuring the wheel if it’s upright. Rather than going for plastic tape, use a sturdier metal tape to measure. This is necessary, especially if you’re doing this alone.

Step 2: Measure the distance in inches.

You can measure the ground beneath the tire to the wheel’s center point. What you’re measuring is the radius of the wheel. You can calculate the tire’s diameter by multiplying the length by two.

Be informed that most adult bike wheels do not usually exceed 26 and 29 inches in diameter, except for BMX models. More so, you can easily find the measurement by checking if the sidewall of your tire is mounted.

Step 3: Measure the tire’s flat part. 

How to Measure Bike Wheel: Detailed Instructions for Any Bike Type (Fall 2022)

From one side to another across the tread, you need to measure the tire’s flat part. Note that the width of the tire is the distance.

However, be aware that this is not constant. The intended use of the tire does make it vary. While narrower treads can promise a smoother, faster ride, the intended terrain can be rougher if the tread is wider.

Step 4: Put the width and the diameter together. 

Now that you know how to measure bike wheel diameter, it’s time to arrive at a more definite figure. While the width should come second, the diameter should always come first.

Method 2:  The ISO Method

The ISO method is the most accurate approach to knowing the size of your bicycle tire. Even if you’re riding one of the best beginner road bikes, this ISO helps you arrive safely at the most accurate sizing for your bicycle tire with its millimeters measuring system.

The International Organization for Standardization is what ISO stands for. You can measure the bead seat diameter or the inner diameter and the width of the tire when you use this method. You can follow the simple steps below to use this method.

Step 1: Check if the ISO System can be used to measure your bicycle’s wheels.

Although this method is renowned for being very accurate, there’s a possibility that your bike may not support ISO System. This system helps you identify your bike’s wheel size by using millimeters. Check if you can spot any printed ISO measurements on the tire on your wheel. Check the wheel rim if you can’t spot any ISO measurement on your tire.

Step 2: Keep your bike on its kickstand or rest it against the wall. 

You need to keep your bike in an upright position to proceed with your measurement. From the wheel’s center to just the tire’s inner edge, measure in millimeters. You’ll be arriving at the accurate diameter by doubling the figure. You can also use this same process to measure the width of the tires in millimeters. Note that your bike’s tires are likely to be 650 to 700 millimeters diametrically if compatible with the ISO system.

Method 3: The Circumference Method

How to Measure Bike Wheel: Detailed Instructions for Any Bike Type (Fall 2022)

The Circumference Method is another method suitable for cyclists seeking to know how to measure the size of their bike’s wheel. You’ll enjoy better calibration with your bicycle when you know its circumference.

Thankfully, measuring the circumference of your tire is usually easy, especially if you’re aware of the tire’s diameter from one side’s outer edge to the other. Use pi to multiply the diameter of the tire. For instance, you can easily arrive at a circumference of 81.64 inches by multiplying 26 x 3.14 if you have a 26-inch tire. Remember, pi is equal to 3.14.

How to Measure Kids Bike Wheels

You’ll need to know how to measure kids’ bike wheel size if you’re getting a bike for your kid or your kid is already riding a bike. Since kids’ bikes have smaller sizes than adult bicycles, you may have certain complications if you proceed to use the same steps mentioned above.

Although, the wheel and tire size of certain kids’ bikes can also be successfully measured with the previously mentioned methods. However, two methods are best recommended for kids’ bikes. They’re the inseam measurement and the height measurement.

The Inseam Measurement looks at the tallness of a bike and how it best fits the kid while riding. The other height option is about putting the height of your kids into cognizance to determine balance and suitability. Getting the best bicycle for your kids can be a bit challenging.

You may want to look at the list of our best bikes for a 10-year-old. These bikes are carefully curated, and it’s easy to determine their wheel size.

How To Measure the Bike Wheel Size For Inner Tube

It’s important to know how to measure bike wheel size for the inner tube. The knowledge of this information is more beneficial for those who are looking at replacing the inner tube of their bike. Here’s the process to follow. Keep your bike standing to get a better view and handling. Look at the wheel from the side as you squat down next to your bicycle.

Check the tire’s sidewall and look for a series of numbers. There’s a possibility that you’ll see a metric system code like 700c x 23 or an imperial system code like 26×1.5. You may also spot the tire’s brand name alongside this number. If you see this imperial system code of 26×1.5, it simply implies that your tire is sized in inches, which is 26” in diameter x 1.5”. Millimeters are the basis of sizing for a metric system code like 700c x 23. This equates to 700mm diameter x 23mm width.

Most Common Bike Wheel Sizes

There are distinct sets of wheel sizes that come with all the varied kinds of mountain bikes and road bikes. Generally, all these sizes have their respective upsides and downsides.

Most Common Road Bike Wheel Size

How to Measure Bike Wheel: Detailed Instructions for Any Bike Type (Fall 2022)

For several years now, the standard size has been 700c for a road bike. While this remains the most common size wheel, you should also know what it signifies.

The “c” represents the tire’s width code, and the wheel’s diameter of 700 mm is what the 700 refers to. Now, take note that this “c” is usually used to refer to a generally wider size.

The “d” is the widest. If you prefer the most narrow width, you should go for the “a.” However, most cyclists seeking a front wheel for their road bike prefer the Wheel Master Front Bicycle Wheel 26′ because of its better traction.

Most Common Track Bike Wheel Size 

Track bikes share a similarity with road bikes. They both use 700c wheels. Nevertheless, high-pressured inflated 21mm – 23mm wide tubular tires are usually the go-to for certain track racers. These harder and narrower tires are believed to provide better leverage on the track than wider and softer tires.

Most Common Size of Mountain Bike Wheel

29 inches/622 wheels, 27.5 inches/650b wheels, and 26 inches/559 wheels are the three main sizes in which mountain bike wheels come. The 26 inches mountain bike wheels are the smallest. However, they’re reputed to be very agile and more lightweight than the other large-sized wheels. They also used to be the standard size. The Wheel Master 26″ Alloy Mountain Disc Double Wall is an example of a standard 26 inches mountain bike wheel.

Larger wheels like the 27.5-inch and 29-inch have become more popular over the years due to the durability, traction, and better grip they offer. These larger wheels have drowned the usual standard view of the 26-inch wheels. And though they lack a bit of the acceleration capabilities of a 26-inch wheel, they compensate with their more controlled and smoother ride.

How to Measure Bike Wheel: Detailed Instructions for Any Bike Type (Fall 2022)

Most Common Size of Gravel Bike Wheel

Like road bikes and track bikes, the 700c wheels are what many gravel bikes use.

However, cyclists going for technical bikepacking and trail riding occasionally prefer to go for 650b wheels.

You may also want to consider checking our carefully sourced list of the best gravel wheels on the market to enjoy more measurement ease and a better riding experience.

FAQs

1. How do you remove a bike wheel?

Foremost, be sure of the wheel you want to remove. That is, whether it’s the back or the front wheel. If it’s the back wheel, have the chain shifted down and loosen the wheel nuts. If it’s the front wheel, you can pull it off the fork after you’ve unscrewed the wheel nuts and flipped the bike over.

2. Is it okay to put a mountain bike wheel on a road bike?

Mountain bikes and road bikes have their distinctive differences. They’re both constructed uniquely for the purpose they serve. To keep the aerodynamics appropriate and safe, it’s advised that you don’t cause damage to your bicycle by cycling with the wrong wheels. However, if you want to, you might need to make certain adjustments to your bike to accommodate the design.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re a professional cyclist or ride a bicycle for the pleasure and health benefits it gives, you must know how to determine the size of your bike’s wheels. While it helps to ensure that your bicycle is a good fit, you’ll also need this knowledge whenever there’s a need to buy a spare or replacement tire.

Often, many find it difficult to determine the size of their bicycle’s wheels. However, it’s not as difficult as it may have been projected to be. Although it will cost you some time, knowing how to measure bike wheels is essential. It helps you become more cognizant of your bike. And, of course, you can choose the method that you find to be most pleasing.

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